- The Washington Times - Friday, September 16, 2005

GAZA STRIP

Hamas gunmen celebrate withdrawal

NEVE DEKALIM — Thousands of masked Hamas gunmen marched in formation through abandoned Jewish settlements yesterday, firing in the air and trampling an Israeli flag in the Islamic militant group’s largest military-style victory parade since Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza.

The show of force — and the Palestinian Authority’s persistent failure to stop people from crossing Gaza’s border into Egypt — underscored Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ trouble asserting control. Mr. Abbas pledged yesterday to seal the chaotic frontier in “two or three days,” but previous deadlines passed without change.

With elections approaching in January, Hamas and Mr. Abbas’ Fatah faction are locked in an increasingly bitter power struggle. Each is trying to use Israel’s Gaza pullout for political gain.

PAKISTAN

Musharraf calls rape ticket to Canada

ISLAMABAD — Outrage mounted in Pakistan and abroad yesterday over President Pervez Musharraf’s comment that many Pakistanis felt that crying rape was an easy way to make money and move to Canada.

Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin has already condemned the remarks made by Gen. Musharraf, who is in the United States having addressed the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday.

Gen. Musharraf told The Washington Post, “A lot of people say if you want to go abroad and get a visa for Canada or citizenship and be a millionaire, get yourself raped.”

NETHERLANDS

Police seize grenades, explosives in probe

THE HAGUE — Dutch police seized 65 grenades, explosives and timers in the course of an investigation into illegal arms trading, the Dutch national prosecutor’s office said yesterday.

The weapons were found Tuesday in a storeroom in a block of apartments in Rotterdam and were thought to originate from the former Yugoslavia, the prosecutor’s office said.

On Wednesday, the authorities here arrested two persons connected to the case who were caught smuggling two firearms into the Netherlands.

UNITED NATIONS

Sharon-Abdullah talks signal warming ties

NEW YORK — Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon met Friday with Jordan’s King Abdullah II, their first talks in months and a further sign of warming relations between the Jewish state and the Arab world after Israel’s Gaza withdrawal.

The meeting, on the sidelines of the U.N. summit marking the world body’s 60th anniversary, was Israel’s latest diplomatic reward for ending its 38-year occupation of the Gaza Strip — its first evacuation of territory Palestinians claim for a future state.

In just two weeks, Qatar, Pakistan and Indonesia have held high-level public meetings with Israel — a rare event for Muslim countries.

NEPAL

Protesting journalists arrested in Katmandu

KATMANDU — Nepalese police yesterday arrested 87 journalists gathering to protest press restrictions imposed since King Gyanendra assumed absolute power earlier this year. Separately, police arrested 200 protesters at a rally of thousands demanding that democracy be restored.

The arrests, part of an often-violent crackdown on pro-democracy protests in the capital, underscored rising tensions in the Himalayan kingdom, which also is trying to fight a long-running communist insurgency.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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